Frequently in my line of work (medicine) people will make statements like, “It’s cheaper to have a kid during residency than as an attending because you are giving up much less in salary and because you don’t have to find coverage for yourself.” I’m wondering what your thoughts are on this.
See, any extra time you take for maternity leave during residency beyond your vacation (which it typically 3-4 weeks a year) gets added on to the end of residency and delays your start of being an attending by that amount of time. It would seem that the opportunity cost of taking time off for any reason as a physician should equal the amount you would earn at the point in your career where you are making the most money regardless of when you take the time. There may be other costs/benefits of having kids early vs. waiting as well which are more intangible (finding coverage for your clinical work, paying for childcare when you’re making a lower salary, building your practice). Is this just another situation where doctors don’t understand opportunity cost/are bad at economics, or am I missing something?
Ask the grumpies thanks you for answering your own question so well and so clearly.
You’re right, they’re not thinking through to the long term/general equilibrium/etc. We don’t really have anything to add to your excellent explanation other than that this argument is similar to the one we often hear about when a woman (and it’s always a woman) should be a SAHM. People seem to fixate at the point in time analysis and ignore long-term costs.
And, as you well know, there is no good time to have a baby for a professional woman, so have one when/if you want one regardless of professional considerations (as you did!).